All the clergymen in the world could not get one drop of rain out of the sky. I insist on it. All the prayers on earth cannot produce one drop of rain. All the clergymen of the world could not save one human life. They tried it last year. They tried it in the United States. The Christian world upon its knees implored God to save one life, and the man died. The man died! Had the man recovered the whole church would have claimed that it was in answer to prayer. The man having died, what does the church say now? What is the answer to this? The Rev. Dr. Thomas says: “There is prayer and there is rain.” Good. “Can he that is himself or any one else say there is no possible relation between one and the other?” I do.
Let us put it another way. There is rain and there is infidelity; can any one say there is no possible relation between the two? How does Dr. Thomas know that he is not indebted to me for this year’s crops? And yet this gentleman really throws out the idea that there is some possible relation between prayer and rain, between rain and health; and he tells us that he would have died twenty-five years ago had it not been for prayer. I doubt it. Prayer is not a medicine. All the prayer in the world cannot take the place of the circulation of the blood. All the prayer in the world is no substitute for digestion. All the prayer in the world cannot take the place of food; and whenever a man lives by prayer you will find that he eats considerable besides. It will not do.
Again: This reverend Doctor says: “Shall we say that all the love of the unseen world” (how does he know there is any love in the unseen world?) “and the love of God” (how does he know there is any love in God?) “heed not the cries and tears of earth?” I do not know; but let the gentleman read the history of religious persecution. Let him read the history of those who were put in dungeons, of those who lifted their chained hands to God and mingled prayer with the clank of fetters; men that were in the dungeons simply for loving this God, simply for worshiping this God. And what did God do? Nothing. The chains remained upon the limbs of his worshipers. They remained in the dungeons built by theology, by malice, and hatred; and what did God do? Nothing. Thousands of men were taken from their homes, fagots were piled around their bodies; they were consumed to ashes, and what did God do? Nothing. The sword of extermination was unsheathed, hundreds and thousands of men, women and children perished. Women lifted their hands to God and implored him to protect their children, their daughters; and what did God do? Nothing. Whole races were enslaved, and the cruel lash was put upon the naked back of toil. What did God do? Nothing. Children were sold from the arms of mothers. All the sweet humanities of life were trodden beneath the brutal foot of creed; and what did God do? Nothing. Human beings, his children, were tracked through swamps by bloodhounds; and what did God do? Nothing. Wild storms sweep over the earth and the shipwrecked go down in the billows; and what does God do? Nothing. There come plague and pestilence and famine. What does God do? Thousands and thousands perish. Little children die upon the withered breasts of mothers; and what does God do? Nothing.
What evidence has Dr. Thomas that the cries and tears of man have ever touched the heart of God? Let us be honest. I appeal to the history of the world; I appeal to the tears, and blood, and agony, and imprisonment, and death of hundreds and millions of the bravest and best. Have they ever touched the heart of the Infinite? Has the hand of help ever been reached from heaven? I do not know; but I do not believe it.